A Proton-M rocket carrying the ExoMars 2016 spacecraft blasts off from the launch pad at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome.
- to search for possible biosignatures of Martian life, past or present.
- to characterize the water and geochemical distribution as a function of depth in the shallow subsurface.
- to study the surface environment and identify hazards to future manned missions to Mars.
- to investigate the planet's subsurface and deep interior to better understand the evolution and habitability of Mars.
- achieve incremental steps ultimately culminating in a sample return flight.